At the first meeting of the new year, the Board of County Commissioners met on Wednesday, January 2. The first order of business was approval of 2019 resolutions.

Resolution 2019-1-1 contained six items: Commissioner Richard Cimino was designated as the Chairman of the Board for 2019; CPA firm, McMahan and Associates, is directed to complete the 2018 audit and the County Director of Finance is directed to publish the report when completed; all elected officials are directed to prepare 2018 annual reports; the County Road and Bridge Superintendent is directed to set 2019 Road hearings, as necessary; the County Director of Finance is directed to prepare a report of fixed assets and return to the Board within 60 days; and, the Interim County Attorney is directed to report to the Board any legal judgement against and any outstanding lawsuits pending against, the Board. Resolution 2019-1-1 was approved unanimously.  

Resolution 2019-1-2 appointed the County Manager, Lee Staab, to serve at the pleasure of the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). It was noted that Staab has submitted a letter of resignation and will be departing in February 2019. The BOCC approved the resolution unanimously.

Resolution 2019-1-3 established BOCC meeting dates and maintained Administration Building hours of operation at Monday through Friday from 8:30 am – 5 pm, except as designated. It also designated the bulletin board outside the Commissioner’s Hearing Room as the public place for posting notice of any Board meeting. The resolution was approved unanimously.

Resolution 2019-1-4 authorized the County Assessor to settle abatements and refunds in the amount of $5,000 or less and was approved unanimously.

Resolution 2019-1-5 set the mileage rate of reimbursement at $.58 per mile, the daily allowance for meals and incidental expense at $63 per day and monthly reimbursement for use of personal cell phone at $25 per month. The commissioners approved Resolution 2019-1-5 unanimously.

The commissioners also approved Resolution 2019-1-6 which continues the appointment of Interim County Attorney, Maxine LaBarre-Krostue until a permanent county attorney is appointed.

Middle Park Health to assume management of Cliffview

The Commissioners next changed hats to meet as the County Housing Authority. Director Sheena Darland presented the new Deposit agreement as required by the USDA for Grand Living. “The replacement reserves are now done differently and the county needs to comply with standard agreements”, said Darland.

Darland next provided an update on the recently approved management agreement between Middle Park Health and Grand County Housing Authority. Middle Park Health will assume management of Cliffview Assisted Living Center in Kremmling on March 1, 2019. A termination letter had been sent to the Senior Housing Options, the current management company, on December 26, 2018. Darland told the commissioners that a transition meeting would take place later this week and more information would be available after that meeting.

Road & Bridge Updates

Assistant Road & Bridge Superintendent, Billy Clark, submitted the necessary documents to the commissioners for their approval of a lease purchase of 3 new graders from Wagner Equipment at a total cost of $759,801. Road and Bridge had received several bids for the replacement equipment and found the bid from Wagner to be most competitive for the equipment desired. The purchase price includes a 7 year/7,000 hour full governmental warranty with guaranteed buy back at the end of the 7 year term. Clark told the commissioners the documents were lengthy, and they agreed. “Thank you guys, there was a lot to this and well done for trying to save us money”, said Chairman Cimino. The commissioners approved the lease purchase unanimously and agreed to sign the documents during the break.

Road & Bridge Superintendent, Chris Baer, gave the commissioners an update on the County Road 3 project. Baer told them the contractors had issues with fluctuation of the water table and that ice buildup in the river has caused a delay in completion. He confirmed that the pipe had been grouted and put together, that concrete had been poured and it is ready for backfill, but material on site is not usable due to the frozen conditions. Baer told the commissioners he was meeting with the contractor to “nail down a realistic completion date”. The original contract showed a December 27, 2018 date of completion and may require an amendment for the extension. Baer would provide more details after speaking with the contractor.

Government shutdown impacts WIC clients

Public Health Director, Brene Belew-Ladue talked about the federal government shutdown and how it impacts the county’s WIC clients. The WIC program is run by the US Department of Agriculture, which is currently shut down, impacting the WIC program. Belew-Ladue told the commissioners “the state has enough reserve money left from 2018 to run the program through January, but, if the shutdown goes into February, we’ll have to figure out what we need to do”. Belew-Ladue added “the State of Colorado will help, and, we have resources available in the county as well”. Mountain Family Center and SNAP are not affected by the shutdown.

Hangar #20 at Emily Warner Field changes hands

The commissioners next approved the sale and assignment of hangar ground lease for Hanger #20, located at the Granby-Grand County Airport in Granby. Dave Cook sold the Hangar to Chris Ziegler for $90,000 on October 17, 2018.  

Ritschard to continue Water Conservation District Board position

Mike Ritschard was reappointed as Grand County Director of the Board of Directors of the Colorado River Water Conservation District for another three-year term by the commissioners. The new term goes through January 1, 2022, allowing Ritschard the ability to fulfill the obligations and duties as our river district representative.

Commissioner Manguso suggested that, as these positions open up, she would “prefer to put out a notice to look for other interested parties that would like to serve”, adding, “Mike has done a good job, but I think some people might be interested”. The commissioners agreed to set a “tickler” to put out a notice for the next position opportunity that opens up.

County Manager and Attorney applications closed December 31

County Manager, Lee Staab, told the commissioners that the vacant positions drew a moderate level of interest from applicants. At the time of closure on December 31, the county had received a total of 17 applications for County Attorney and 39 applications for County Manager, but some of the applications received were incomplete and were not considered. Some candidates were also removed from the pool if they did not respond to inquiries from the county’s Human Resources department. The plan is to conduct telephone interviews January 7 – 10th.

Staab told the commissioners that they had conducted a preliminary review of the applications received and selected their recommended candidates, which were identified on a spreadsheet provided to the commissioners. Staab told them they planned to assemble a panel of 5 staff members to conduct the telephonic interviews which would help them further narrow down the pool for in-person interviews, which would be attended by the commissioners.

Recognizing the two positions are both high priority, the commissioners determined to be more involved in the process of “whittling down” the candidates. “Both of these positions are priorities, they both work for us”, said commissioner Manguso. “These are our employees, and we need to be involved”.

Commissioner Manguso suggested listening in on phone interviews to hear how the candidates answer the questions. “This is the key employee for Grand County and we have a responsibility to be a part of the interview process” said Manguso, referring to the County Manager position. “I don’t want any whittling that we are not 100% involved in, I don’t want to see names removed from the list until we are involved”, said Chairman Cimino. Commissioner Linke stated “we can screen based on applications. I like this being a draft, but we (BOCC) should go through the list of candidates and come up with our own “green columns” (staff recommended candidates). Linke added “the very next step for us is to go through the list and make our selections” during an Executive Session.

Since an Executive Session needs to be posted, the commissioners agreed to meet on Monday, January 7 at 10 am on Monday morning to go through the applications and resumes for each candidate for the County Manager and Attorney positions.

Due to the timing, and the need to contact candidates and panel staff for scheduling, they agreed to push back the phone interviews to January 16-17, with carryover to January 18th, if needed, to ensure schedules work.

Lawsuit Update

Interim County Attorney, Maxine LaBarre-Krostue, updated the commissioners on the pending lawsuit filed by David Michel of Igadi Ltd, regarding the November 2018 election. The county had filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in December, and Michel has until January 8 to respond before the case goes before a judge to rule.

Kremmling submits concerns on airport expansion

The town of Kremmling has submitted a letter to the BOCC regarding the proposed airport expansion. On December 7th, Interim Town Manager, Rhonda J Shearer wrote that “the town is thrilled at the opportunity for growth at the airport, but, they do have some concerns”.

The expansion plans require an increase in the size of the airport’s safety zone, which would require removal of a portion of the River Ranch Mobile Home Park. The section houses about 20 families and the town board is very concerned with this.

The town also expressed concern with the runway utilization, stating there is less impact on the town if air traffic can approach and take off to the east. While understanding there are weather and air conditions that do not always allow for favorable conditions, they asked that this be utilized at all other times.

The airport expansion project is still in development, but the commissioners agreed to take their concerns into consideration as it progresses.

Commissioners approve Special Use Permit for Hideaway Mountain Lodge

Alexander Taft, LEED Green Associate, presented the request for a special use permit for Hideaway Mountain Lodge. Located at 425 Grand County Road 5001, the existing lodge had been purchased by Mike and Carla Walker of M&C Walker Enterprise in October 2016. The lodge had previously been operated as a lodge known as the High Mountain Lodge until it ceased operation in 2014 and the Walkers had spent the last two years renovating and making improvements to the 13 room structure.

The Walkers initially submitted an application for a Short Term Rental Permit in 2018. In processing that application, staff decided that the use was most consistent with that of a Lodge and recommended the applicant apply for a Special Use Permit, since the property had more than 5 bedrooms.

Owner, Mike Walker, told the commissioners about the lodge. There are 13 rooms, 2 are suites with king beds and fold-out sofa, 7 rooms accommodate 4 people with 2 queen beds or a king bed and trundle twins, and, 4 rooms accommodate 2 people with a king or queen bed. The maximum occupancy is 44 persons.

Taft added that the Planning Commission had approved the application with 14 conditions and Walker confirmed they had been working through the conditions.

Taft told the commissioners he’d received several phone calls from neighbors saying they had no concerns with the lodge continuing to operate as it had in the past. No other public comment was received. With no other concerns, the commissioners unanimously approved the Special Use Permit and wished Walker well with the business.